Hatracking shall mean to flat-cut the top or sides of a tree, severing the main branch or branches; or trimming a tree by cutting off branches and leaving a stub larger than one (1) inch in diameter; or reducing the total circumference or canopy of a tree by more than one-quarter (1/4); or by otherwise trimming a tree in such a manner as not to conform to the current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards , , , ,

From Law Insider, accessed 2/27/2022


A tree that has been hatracked has no chance to return to normalcy. The reason is simple. The primary limbs of the tree have been severed well below any location where the tree has tissues for normal growth function. The tree makes a desperate response to avoid starvation by generating adventitious growth (epicormic shoots). This growth is abnormal and lacks proper attachment capabilities. The result is a mess of weak thin shoots (it would be an exaggeration to call them branches) that break off and fall when too heavy with leaves, rain or snow, or are easily ripped off by wind.

The simple truth is the tree is ruined. No amount of monitoring will alter that fact. The now ruined tree should be removed. Unfortunately, trees have been hatracked too often; the results are both well-known and well understood.

(Tree People of Walla Walla)

In the following video, a tropical gardener makes a departure after witnessing hatracking of oak trees in his father’s neighborhood.

The citizens speak out!

To read a PDF of citizen responses, click here.

See images below; relevant city ordinances follow below images.

12.49.040 Permit required for street tree maintenance.

The responsible property owner proposing street tree maintenance work must first secure a permit for this work. Application for such permit must be made at least ten working days in advance of the time proposed for such work. The city arborist shall provide printed standards for proper arboricultural maintenance procedures with any street tree permit issued.

The municipal arborist shall issue a permit for such maintenance if in his judgment the street tree(s) in question would benefit from such work to regain appearance, vigor, or structural integrity. The municipal arborist, before issuing any permit for such maintenance, shall determine that the workmanship and method proposed in the permit application are satisfactory. Work authorized by said permit shall be completed within the time specified and in the manner therein described. Any permit shall be void if any of its terms are violated and the penalties prescribed in this chapter shall be applied. (Ord. 2000-10 § 10, 2000: Ord. A-3507 § 2, 1987: Ord. A-3243 § 1(part), 1982).

12.49.190 Penalties for violation.

Any person, partnership, firm, corporation, or other legal entity violating or failing to comply with any provision of this chapter shall be found to have committed an infraction and shall be punishable by a penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars. Each such person or entity shall be found to have committed a separate infraction for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this chapter is committee, [sic] continued or permitted by any such person or entity, and such person or entity shall be punished accordingly. The remedies for violation or failure to comply described are in addition to all other remedies provided or authorized by law. (Ord. 2000-10 § 25, 2000: Ord. A-3243 § 1(part), 1982).